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Discussion Starter #1
Dumb situation here:

My 2004 Element is 'stuck' in my garage with an apparently dead battery (it has been cold ~15 F all week).

Two questions- How can I pop the car into neutral to get it out of the garage in it's dead-battery state? I can't seem to get it to shift out of Park with the battery dead.

I bought my Element last year and the battery seems to have croaked? Should I be concerned? (I don't think I left a dome light/headlights on or anything). More cold weather is expected here in Wisconsin!
 

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I have tried holding down the brake while attempting to shift to neutral and it still won't shift.
...bummer...well, I'm outta ideas then. you could always pull a battery from another vehicle to try and jump it (assuming you have a 1 car garage)... or you could transplant a battery and see if that fixes the shifting problem. if so, purchase a new battery or jump the old one.

whatever the outcome, i'd recommend replacing the stock battery...they're notorious for draining quickly and failing in frigid temps. best of luck to ya.
 

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spitznerk said:
I have tried holding down the brake while attempting to shift to neutral and it still won't shift.

with key turned to on ?!

Shifter is locked in place via ignition key and brake, in case of failure of either of these (which shouldn't be affected by dead battery afaik) you can override via that little access point on side of shifter. (Can't remember the details but it was in my owners manual)


Will
 

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The brake-shifter interlock may well be electrical. I suspect the brake peddle is in contact with a little switch. When pressed it moves away from the switch (you can hear a little click), opening (or possibly closing) a circuit, that in turn activating a solinoid in the gear shift mechanism. If that is the case (as opposed to a purely mechanical linkage), you do need power for the interlock to release.

But as was mentioned, there is a manual bypass to this interlock, via a little slot near the gear shifter. The manual (at least 03) has a whole page about this shift lock release (p183). This shift lock mechanism also keeps you from shifting into reverse while moving. The 'reverse' section of the manual indicates that you will have problems with this system if the battery is disconnected or dead.

paulj
 

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Discussion Starter #8
ramblerdan said:
2004 manual, page 130.

Cool. I had a feeling there was an override.

My gameplan is this:

1) I got one of those battery jumpstarter dealies from my maintenance team at work. Gonna try that out tonight.

2) I will pop er in Neutral using the override and jump it off the wife's CRV as a last resort.

Any thoughts on the battery taking a crap after about 16 months of use with no apparent dome light/headlight/dvd player left on?
 

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I have a vague memory of a caller to Cartalk recounting a case of some neighbor taking the battery out of his own car, and inverting it over the dead battery, terminal to terminal.

How about removing the dead battery, and carrying it over to the CRV to give it a charge (with jumper cables).

Years ago, on a winter camping trip, I took the battery out of my Trooper II, and warmed it in basin of water that I had warmed on the camp stove. That gave it enough life to start the car. Earlier that winter I had brought the battery to the house when temperatures dipped to 0F (in Chicago).

paulj
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Long Story short, I got the E started with the battery jumpstarter after failing to jump it off my wife's CRV.

I did get er popped into neutral using the page 130 method (thanks for the post!).

For those scoring at home you just pop the little plastic cover near the lower right hand corner of the shifter and push a screwdriver against through the hole which release the catch. From there the car can be nooched.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
paulj said:
I have a vague memory of a caller to Cartalk recounting a case of some neighbor taking the battery out of his own car, and inverting it over the dead battery, terminal to terminal.

How about removing the dead battery, and carrying it over to the CRV to give it a charge (with jumper cables).

Years ago, on a winter camping trip, I took the battery out of my Trooper II, and warmed it in basin of water that I had warmed on the camp stove. That gave it enough life to start the car. Earlier that winter I had brought the battery to the house when temperatures dipped to 0F (in Chicago).

paulj
By the way this was a very enjoyable anecdote.
 

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paulj said:
The brake-shifter interlock may well be electrical. ... If that is the case (as opposed to a purely mechanical linkage), you do need power for the interlock to release.
:oops: Oops...I shoulda realized that....thanks.

That battery musta been really dead huh? FWIW... I've got a handy-dandly little battery charger that cost me about $35 many years ago and has long since paid for iteslf charging batteries in cars, bikes, lawnmowers, etc. This might have been helpfull has it could've been charging the battery in the garage, if not enough to start it, at least enough to release the gear selector and roll the vehicle to a better spot. (This would not have worked if the battery was "shorted/bad cell" and wouldn't take a charge, but it is still a worthwhile "garage accessory."

Will
 

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been using a float charger

spitznerk said:
Dumb situation here:

My 2004 Element is 'stuck' in my garage with an apparently dead battery (it has been cold ~15 F all week).

Two questions- How can I pop the car into neutral to get it out of the garage in it's dead-battery state? I can't seem to get it to shift out of Park with the battery dead.

I bought my Element last year and the battery seems to have croaked? Should I be concerned? (I don't think I left a dome light/headlights on or anything). More cold weather is expected here in Wisconsin!
My 05 battery is not doing well in the cold here in reno (not even that cold) It seems to have low CCA by nature.

Put it on a float charger and that seems to have helped a bunch...I don't think it is long for this world...Costco for me SOON!
 

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Rule of thumb on Battery life on a new car is about the first cold snap after 3 years...
My personal preference for replacement batteries is Interstate brand...
 

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Used to use em too

paulyofpa said:
Rule of thumb on Battery life on a new car is about the first cold snap after 3 years...
My personal preference for replacement batteries is Interstate brand...
If I remember, there are only 3 or 4 manufacturers of batteries. The Costco ones are Johnson controls if memory serves me but they have a FULL 3 yr warranty...no questions asked! I like that part.

As for my oem battery, It is only 1.5 yrs old and is very weak (and was not that great last year either!) Will have to check the 51R at Costco and Wally World (also highly rated) to see the CCA of those relative to the HONDA OEM.
Should make it through the winter ok with the float charger and I have a pretty good charger/starter just in case! if it goes...I have another vehicle to pick up a replacement...(looks like the battery is as big as the car <grin> but the Mini has surprising space within!)
Thanks
jeff
 

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Personal "Rules of Thumb" on batteries -- in the Element and in general...

Element's first: Yep, it's tiny and wimpy. But if treated with minimal due diligence, it seems capable of lasting four years (mine has begun it's 4th winter parked outdoors overnight in a very cold climate). "Due diligence" means never letting it be drained stone dead.

Though Elements turn over more slowly in cold weather than any vehicle I've ever in my life encountered due to the tiny, wimpy stock battery, they do tend to fire up quickly. It sure didn't sound right the first winter, but I got used to the sensation and quit worrying.

In general: Once any battery has been drained dead (and particularly if it's been left to sit in that condition a few days), it will never be a reliable battery again - no matter the brand, the age, nor the size. :mad:

I've managed to get three years plus from insanely small batteries that frequently are standard equipment on motorcycles, snowmobiles and lawn tractors by keeping them fully charged year-round, and by replacing evaporated liquid with fresh battery acid instead of water, but I realize that's not advice you're going to get from rational people, and it's best not attempted by most folks. :-o

(Please note, I have absolutely no electro-chemical credentials, and am only recounting what's worked for me over many years of real-world experience.)
 

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Hi

You don't have anything odd hooked up like a cell phone charger do you? If not, I would guess that either your batttery or charging system needs replacement.

Bob
 

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If this was to me

pa_fun said:
Hi

You don't have anything odd hooked up like a cell phone charger do you? If not, I would guess that either your batttery or charging system needs replacement.

Bob
If this was to me...Nada (just do not drive it that much)....always been a weak battery when it gets cold....have a charging system tester and all checks out fine...probably got a lemon battery or a marginal one....comes with the territory I guess...would love to put something bigger in it but do not wish to modify!
Thanks
jeff
 

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gizzer777 said:
...would love to put something bigger in it but do not wish to modify!
Setting aside any personal feelings about the company--- I replaced my OEM battery with an Optima (34R, if memory serves correctly) with no modifications other than a riser (shim) below the battery in the tray. Don't remember what I used for the shim- was either a small piece of plastic or a piece of 2X6.
It's rated around 1000CCA and I'm not worried about Vermont winters anymore !!
 

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<<In general: Once any battery has been drained dead (and particularly if it's been left to sit in that condition a few days), it will never be a reliable battery again - no matter the brand, the age, nor the size>>

??that is unture. a battery can work just fine for years after being discharged.

your battery may have a bad cell, or one of the connections could be loose...check those first.

slower the better when charging batteries.
 
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